Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, says former President Donald Trump appears "happy in retirement."
His comments came in a Wednesday interview with the Washington Examiner.
Crenshaw said he saw Trump while in Florida recently and the former president was "as friendly as ever."
"He's an ex-president," Crenshaw said. "You can't just excommunicate him. He's an ex-leader of our party, and trying to excommunicate him in an aggressive fashion will never work [because] he does have a large base of support within our party, but what also won't work is this belief that he will continue to be the leader of our party in the future. That’s also unrealistic."
He told the news outlet he views Trump as a "human being" and as a former president, who deserves to be treated with respect.
"I think he deserves an amount of respect from our party, and I think that's what people were reacting to this week," he said of this week’s vote to boot Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from her leadership position over her comments criticizing Trump. "You know ... I think a large majority of Republicans are looking towards what the next leadership looks like, but they also don't want this disrespect of our former leader, either.
"I don’t think this is a hardline to walk, to be honest."
The Examiner noted Crenshaw had aligned himself with Trump. He has defended Trump’s COVID-19 response and praised the Trump administration's policies dealing with immigration.
Meanwhile, Trump is considering dates and venues for rallies in June and July.
The rallies will come in support of the America First agenda and Republicans behind the movement who are up for 2022 congressional seats, despite the fact the former president is not yet ready to make a determination for his own political future before the 2024 presidential election.
A source told the New York Post the former president is looking at venues and dates for a pair of June rallies and another around the July 4 holiday.
Outside of a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this winter, Trump's last public rally came Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., while protesters angry about the certification of President Joe Biden's election stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Trump recently traveled from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, to his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, where he is expected to spend the summer, according to the Post.
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